At least six persons, including journalist of a TV news channel, were killed on Saturday and several others were injured in fresh clashes between members of two communities in the district, where tension has been simmering since violence in Kawal village ten days ago. Police said that curfew has been clamped in the area.
IBN7 journalist Rajesh Verma and a photographer hired by police, Israr, were killed in the violence in separate parts of the district. It is important to note that the State has witnessed more than 30 communal riots since Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party Government came to power in March 2012.
The incident comes shortly after Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that incidents of communal violence have increased in the country and cautioned all States to remain alert and foil any attempt to disturb peace ahead of the general elections. “Communal violence incidents have increased since last year. While 410 incidents occurred in the country last year, this year, till now, 451 incidents have taken place,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
The tension initially brewed up when three persons were killed on August 27 over a dispute which has now culminated into a communal rift between two communities.
The village had witnessed a horrific series of events after two girls, returning back home with their kin Gaurav from college, were allegedly molested by a local resident Shahnawaz. Gaurav first tried to oppose Shahnawaz’s act but finally decided to go home silently.
After sometime, Gaurav returned with his friend on bike and allegedly attacked Shahnawaz with sharp weapon. Meanwhile, hearing Shahnawaz’s cries, his neighbours rushed to his rescue. They nabbed the two youths and beat them mercilessly to death. When Shahnawaz was taken to hospital, he was also declared dead by the doctors.
After the three deaths, tension prevailed in the area and incidences of violence have denied to end.
During the fresh violence, a photographer was beaten to death in Sekeda village by a group of people returning from a meeting, police sources said.
Shinde said all States have been alerted in view of recent incidents and he has personally called up Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday and discussed the subject.
In a related incident, five persons were injured when members of two communities pelted stones at each other in Basiakla village. In Ilmanspur village, a mob set afire a vehicle.
Security had been tightened in view of Naglabadhod meeting and prohibitory orders imposed in the area, police said.
Several people had participated in the first meeting held in the aftermath of Kawal violence despite a ban imposed by the district authorities.
Meanwhile, crime branch on Saturday arrested ex-Jansath block head, Virender Singh, for an alleged provocative speech during the last meeting on August 31.
Singh is cousin of Shashank Shekhar Singh, who was former Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary in the previous Mayawati Government in the State.
According to DSP JR Joshi, the ex-block head was arrested for allegedly participating in an “unauthorised meeting” while prohibitory orders were in force in the area.
DGP Deo Raj Nagar said the Government has formed a Special Task Force to investigate the Kawal incident.
“Some elements are trying to create communal tension in the region. The STF will be helpful to normalise the situation. No one would be allowed to breach peace in the area,” he said.